Refugees in Thailand receiving mental health care

For decades, Thailand has sheltered tens of thousands of refugees. Now, Thailand is facilitating efforts by the United Nations to deliver mental health care to those displaced people and help them cope with the stress and traumas they have experienced.

“Considering the challenges and stress that refugees face daily, community-based psychosocial support is essential. The strategies empower refugees – providing them with the tools and knowledge to manage and improve their own mental well-being, as well as being able to help their fellow community members in need,” the ReliefWeb online magazine said about the refugee situation in Thailand.

“The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, through its implementing partner, Humanity & Inclusion, launched a new dedicated program on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). The program objectives are to raise awareness and strengthen community support – allowing camp residents to not only have a better understanding of mental health but also be empowered by strategies to cope,” ReliefWeb wrote.

So far, the biggest challenge has been correcting widespread misconceptions and a general lack of knowledge about mental health issues among ethnic groups and refugees. As a consequence, not all refugees in need of counseling or therapy are seeking help.

To deal with that, Humanity & Inclusion has been making home visits and conducting workshops to educate and enlighten refugees about the benefits their services can bring.

“In the past, when I was overwhelmed by negative feelings, I sometimes stayed home not doing anything, not moving, not eating and not sleeping,” a young female refugee who took part in the activity told ReliefWeb. “By joining the workshop, I understand those coping mechanisms are toxic, but also other people feel the same way as I do. We learned that we can support each other.”

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